I just discovered (via LSD) the metaLAB at Harvard — and it looks fascinating. The lab is “dedicated to exploring the frontiers and overlooked histories of networked culture in the arts and humanities.” And their six research themes are super-cool: the animation of archives, artifactual knowledge, augmented exhibitions, cultural genomics, documentary arts + media innovation, and thick mapping.
I’m only just starting to go through the site and all the places it links to. For example, course DES 03448: The Mixed-Reality City is using Zeega, a tool that the lab is also developing for creating interactive documentaries, open archives and inventing new forms of storytelling. There’s a worth-following blog. And they’re one of six finalists as part of the Beta Sprint competition of the Digital Public Library of America.
There’s definitely an academic orientation to it all — so some of the work may not seem immediately applicable. But that’s what makes the design research so important… it asks questions that we sometimes forget to ask. I want to know more!